As promised the focus of this issue of INIQUITY NEWS is an attempt to inform each and every one of you with as many tips and tricks as possible on how to make your Fetish holidays CHEAP and EASY! :-)
In addition we have a number of exciting events coming up and some serious reporting on some truly AMAZING events that just happened over in Europe, not the least of which is the infamous Rubber Ball.
A large number of people have recently written in asking about Fetish Halloween events, and I have been sad to tell them that there really are not that many happening. Besides the three events listed below, Las Vegas has a "Fetish & Fantasy Ball" open to absolutely anyone in any attire, Los Angeles has another Halloween Ball put on by the proprietors of the L.A. Fetish Ball (and some people have reported seeing even MORE Fetish clothing at the Halloween Ball -- these are unconfirmed reports), and other than that we really haven't heard much. For the hardcore S&M crowd, the well known BLACK ROSE is about to transpire over on the East Coast, but all in all Halloween this year seems a little sparse on truly high-quality, strict dress code (as you know we love that) Fetish and S&M events. Not to worry though; although there may not be too many occurrences right on Halloween weekend, you can rest assured that the coming few months have plenty in store for "our kind." ;-) A quick note r.e. Fetish Fashion and Television:
Looks like those of you who predicted more and more Fetish in mainstream were correct. A recent Spice Girls video has the entire crew surfing through the sky in all manner of glossy black Fetish clothes; Nikita in the final season was loaded to the gills with leather, and now Dark Angel is presenting a post-apocalyptic future with a fairly regular glimpse of Fetish Fashion as though 20 years from now PVC will be as common as denim (I certainly would not complain). A real sleeper in this genre is the show Earth: Final Conflict, which also in the latest season has been plastered with PVC, leather and a variety of other shiny materials, some worn by citizens of Future-Earth and some occasionally sported by an alien here or there. Lastly vague themes of a Fetish nature have shown up on another science fiction show called First Wave about nasty-bad aliens who act like an army of belligerent lawyers equipped with Virtual Reality and Plutonium U-32 Space Modulator disintegration pistols built in. Interesting trend there, that many of these shows have a science fiction orientation, basically implying that Fetish IS the future of fashion. :-)
Another piece of news for all you bargain hunters before we launch into the Table O' Contents regards your local shopping mall. A large number of reports have indicated that one new hot spot for Fetish Fashion Bargains is your local major shopping Mall. Stores like The Gap (leather), Wet Seal and Limbo Lounge (PVC) often carry great pieces of Fetish Clothing at incredibly cheap prices as compared to your local Fetish Boutique. The Pros -- often the stuff is solid "B" quality, well stitched, and fits quite well; The Cons -- generally limited to monochromatic black, rarely super-unique in design or ingenuity, and usually found by LUCK as no store besides the Gap advertises Fetish materials as a specialty. The phenomenon does not seem seasonal, but more random as to when some of these shops will carry a piece or two. Also the items are mostly (but not exclusively) for women. For the few of you who have not heard of the now-regular mall-shop Hot Topic, at least this one shop tries to skew the curve by regularly providing a minor, decent selection of PVC clothing at relatively affordable prices. At Hot Topic you will usually be able to find a few pieces by Lip Service, who by the way has seriously improved in quality and tailoring over the last few years although they could still get even better, as well as a few odd pieces from smaller manufacturers. Hot Topic, once a boon to the lucky Fetishist or Goth in the odd mall here or there has since become just as regular a shop as The Gap and Wet Seal in most malls across America. The only sad part of the story is that they achieved this by seriously shrinking the Fetish-Goth section and accompanying image and expanding the gang-banger and skater clothing lines and that image. Nonetheless if you haven't visited Hot Topic lately it is certainly worth a quick visit. :-)
On a completely tangential note, I want to urge each and every one of you to Vote in the upcoming election. In some states there are some very important issues and no matter how you vote it does count and it's one of your rights. We here at INIQUITY believe that you should exercise that right. :-)
We highly recommend that people who are NEW to INIQUITY and INIQUITY NEWS take the time to read the section at the end "Stuff For New Readers."
Three Halloween Events for Pervs
ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY
And private Fetish Play party !
Friday, October, 27th
If dressed in appropriate Costume, High Goth, Fetish or outlandish Club wear !
Prizes for the best costume !
There will be a private play room only available to those who Dress in high fetish and use the INIQUITY password ("Iniquity"). This room will not be open to the general public or those who are dressed inappropriately ! The only exception is that since it is a Halloween party you may wear and costume if is suggestive and fetish related in some way and if you use the password you will still be admitted.
at the all new
LOST CITY 23 CLUB
23 Visitacion Ave. Brisbane 94005
More info, phone number: email@example.com Lots of FREE parking in front and Behind the club in our private Lot!
Public transportation to front door!
Bart, Muni , Caltrans & Samtrans
If driving Go101 south, get Off at Sierra Point exit
Look for black balloons all along the way!
go to mapquest.com or Yahoomaps.com for detailed directions If you need more info
SanctuarySFfirstname.lastname@example.org Venders welcome!
Email for info!
Happy HALLOWEEN ...DP STYLE at
AREA 101 Studio
it's PERPETRATION ...DOUBLE !!!
the night between Saturday Oct.28th and Sunday Oct.29th 1AM-6AM
Whether you'll be at the Halloween Masquerade Ball or at the LUST party COME play late at Headquarters....1051 N.Cole Ave. in Hollywood ( if you don't know where it is by now....you should! ) Admission $15 each or FREE if completely butt-naked (shoes OK ! )
BYOT - we got Lube !
Friday, October 27th, 2000
The Ceremony Begins @ 10pm
135 W. 42nd. St between 6th & 7th Aves.
(near the N, R, 1, 2, 3, 9, 7,S, F, Q, B&D trains
A, C, E trains on 8th Ave)
New York City
10,000 Square Ft to play in!!!
DRESS CODE: Body Paint, Modern Primitive, Tribal Tatoos, Bone
necklaces, Zombie, Snake Charmer, Black Magic Woman, Voodoo Child, Headhunter w/ spear, Gravedigger, Witches & Warlocks...don't forget, it's Halloween!!
CLASSIC FETISH: Leather, Latex, PVC, Corsetry, Warped & Kinky
Report -- Berlin & Vienna
Excitement was high as we sped along the Autobahn. My friend was driving at least 130 mph but it seemed slow on the perfectly paved highways of Germany. I had just flown in from Amsterdam in which, I am sad to say, I was not able to attend any events there. It seems that, according to Amsterdam residents, the Great Fetish Scene of a few years ago is slightly on the wane there at this time. Most clubs there right now seem to be attracting a fun and lively Fetish FASHION crowd with loads of energy, but who also unfortunately do not seem to be too seriously involved in the S&M aspects of the Fetish Life. To many of the seriously hardcore Fetishists in Amsterdam, some of whom were amongst the original crowd back in the KINKY CLUB days of the early and mid 90's, this lack of S&M translates for them into something of a lack of sincerity as far as Fetishism goes. Personally I could argue that the S&M will catch on with this new wave of Fetish Club-goers, but I can also understand these people's point of view. Regardless, the two biggest clubs currently in Amsterdam, CATACOMBS (supposedly *amazing* location -- a real catacomb -- and great looking crowd but little S&M) and THE CLINIC (considered by the Fetterati of Amsterdam to currently be the most well-rounded Fetish Club) were not occurring during my brief sojourn so alas I cannot report on them other than by way of the words of resident Pervs who live there. Happily a few new shops have started carrying a great new selection of Fetish clothes by a number of super high-quality manufacturers such as House of Harlot, Murray & Vern and Ectomorph. Of course Amsterdam is still home to one of the great names in Fetish Fashion, DeMASK, who's remodeled shop contains a large selection of wonderful and unique rubber clothing and toy designs. :-)
Back to the passenger seat of a one-and-a-half ton metal box hurtling along a German highway, I was excited to FINALLY be checking out what has been rumored to be an incredible city for parties and partying. I had heard rumors of the famous Kit-Kat club and was fantasizing about catching a closed-door Berlin cabaret of yesteryear.
What I found in Berlin was a set of mixed results.
My biggest disappointment was the KIT-KAT club itself. Set in what could be considered the former "green room" of a large play-house-turned-movie theatre and nightclub from a few decades ago, the venue was one main large room with a few alcoves spaced all around it sizeable enough to contain the two bars and a few lounges. Unfortunately the DJs, who were without a doubt loosing their hearing, seemed decidedly bent on playing a mix of hard techno and not-so-great 70's music at a volume designed to over-shout any local airliners who might be passing through the club. Add to this that they advertised the singularly most UNenforced "Strict Fetish Dress Code" I have ever seen. The standard Euro-Fetish Dress Code (which INIQUITY bases it's dress code upon) adorned each of the club's flyers, but after our first half hour at the club we could all plainly see that the printed dress code was a bald faced lie. Anyone, in any attire, was admitted, and at the risk of sounding too judgmental, there were some things we saw which were just plain off. The pinnacle of this was one woman who came into the club in her flip-flops, a sweatshirt, and sweatpants -- no exaggeration, just plain gray fleece sweatpants straight out of the gymnasium. After an hour she dropped the sweatshirt and flip-flops and was dancing in nothing but the sweatpants -- not a pretty sight and unfortunately par for the course of the general attendance. The number of people in genuine Fetish Attire as purported on the flyer amounted to less than 10% of the club. In short I will not be going out of my way to make a return trip to the KIT-KAT club of Berlin.
HAPPILY, on the other hand, we were taken to another entirely different kind of club, KATHARSIS. Half the fun of KATHARSIS was going to the venue, or perhaps I should say hunting for the venue. Imagine yourself in a James Bond 007 mystery where you are told to go to the far end of a part of town, and drive down a long unmarked road. Then you must park your car and walk into an alley behind what looks like an apartment building or a set of lofts. The light is dark and there is NOTHING around that even remotely says "This is a place of gathering" let alone "NIGHTCLUB!!!" It is dark and cold and you are certain you are lost. Nonetheless, with a little determination, and a bit of trust in the directions you were given, you pursue headlong into the alley, navigating by the few, dim security lights scattered about. You are ten feet from the end of the alley and you have seen NOTHING indicating a nightclub. You are about to give up but you figure you may as well check the listing of apartments on the back door of the building, also dimly lit but standing out as at least one white, ordinary door. As you approach the door you notice a tiny, 4-inch by 1-inch metal plaque located at eye level on the door. You read the apartment listings to the side of the door -- no clues there. Then your eyes glance up at the plaque and LO AND BEHOLD, you see engraved in a script font the singular words, "KATHARSIS -- please ring the bell." That's it.
We buzzed the buzzer and the door buzzed back at us in response to admit
us. Down a white staircase and around a corner where we were greeted
by the house cashier in drag who's permanent desk was offset by some nice
glass cases where you could see the various restraints and ball-gags and
floggers and safe-ex supplies you could buy just in case you forgot your
own toys. To the left and past the cashier was one room being used
as an art gallery for the night showcasing a local Fetish photographer.
The room was otherwise a bit chilly and mostly a social space for
louder discussions. Back into the foyer and another left turn and
then through a large wooden door. That's when the surprise hits. :-)
On the other side of the wooden door was a veritable dungeon from antiquity. In reality it was a converted wine-cellar with numerous brick arches, but it was VERY well converted. A decent selection of softer "scene" music played amidst the various S&M scenes going on. A fully stocked bar also served coffee in this venue that never seemed to close. Apparently the venue is used by Pro Domme's during the day. We watched a variety of scenes of all types occur, from the cafe' style tables and chairs scattered around the outside of the play area. Overall I am very happy to say that I could not find fault in this "Main Room" of KATHARSIS. It was pleasant, it was hardcore, the players were polite and well-dressed, and the atmosphere overall was completely conducive and focused to some excellent S&M play. I would point out that KATHARSIS is definitely an S&M player's club and not a dance club at all.
Clubs aside, Berlin has some EXCELLENT Fetish Fashion shopping. Two noteworthy shops were PLASTE+ELASTE and SCHWARZE MODE. PLASTE+ELASTE will appeal to all the Fetish-Goths in the crowd as they carry a large selection of traditional black PVC attire for both men and women. They also carry a good selection of long velvet gowns and velvet shirts and the like to appease the Goth appetites.
SHWARZE MODE on the other hand deserves some serious respect as an excellent High Fetish Fashion Boutique. The actual SHWARZE MODE shop is divided into two sections, with the clothing -- 100% Rubber and PVC -- on one side, and an outstanding Fetish Literature shop right night to it bearing the same exterior colors and design. The literature sections had Fetish fiction, Fetish cards & calendars, and almost every famous Fetish Photographer's book you could imagine. Notable amongst them is the work of Eric Kroll, who has a very large fan following in Germany and thus his books of photography are everywhere. The clothing portion of SHWARZE MODE could easily take several hours of your time. With loads of unique designs to tantalize and tease you Fetish Fashion senses, the store's large selection probably has something for everyone......if you can afford it. Unfortunately, even with the dollar being so strong against the deutchmark right now, the prices at SHWARZE were still a little too much on the high side. They did have a cool discount rack there however and I must admit that this rack had several cool items there to be discovered by the right person. In addition, the staff were eager to please and even offered to ship stuff for free. Regardless, SHWARZE MODE is Definitely worth a visit. It is also good to know that the shop is a great place to find out about all other activities going on in the Berlin area.
KATHARSIS Open to the
public Thurs-Sat from 9pm to ???
SHWARZE MODE BERLIN
What an incredible surprise the simply magnificent city of Vienna turned out to be! Aside from the large city center who's buildings are kept up in antique architectural splendor for the most part, and aside from the best pastries in all of Europe, and aside from the fact that REAL Viennese coffee actually tastes very good and is genuinely strong when in Vienna, it turns out this city has one more item to tease those of our ilk: A THRIVING Fetish Scene.
With shops like SIMON-O and TIBERIUS, private Fetish Artists like the Studio Gum gallery, and best of all the SMart Cafe', Vienna in my honest opinion is about to explode into the global Fetish Scene as a Serious Hot Spot! We had absolutely no idea that there was all this to be found in the city locally known as "Wien" when we chose to add it to our itinerary. It was sheer luck that while in Berlin we hooked up with a couple of eminently cool Pervs from Vienna who insisted on telling us the stops we had to make in our short visit to their home town. Our expectations were low, so you can understand our amazement when we walked into SIMON-O to find not only a thriving Rubber clothing store but a shop filled with Truly Unique designs! Take for example the corseted pink latex evening gown -- 100% latex except for the lacing grommets and the laces -- or the yellow mini skirt with a zillion holes cut into it like Swiss cheese and each hole filled with clear latex to boot! The staff was very cool and very clued-in and seemed to know about all the hottest parties around. Not only that but the prices were very reasonable as well! An absolute MUST for the Fetish Fashion aficionado. :-)
Then there was the weird, underground feel to STUDIO GUM. When we found the lone door with a TINY plaque on it and rang the bell, we were greeted by a gentleman who with all due respect reminded me of Peter Lore from one of the Edgar Allen Poe/Boris Karloff movies. To the best of our knowledge the fact that he makes custom latex clothing particularly of a bondage nature, i.e. full encasement bags and custom rubber gas-mask hoods and the like, is neither illegal nor particularly frowned upon in Austria, so we could never quite fathom the overwhelming aura of gaining entrance to some illegal speak-easy. Immediately upon going inside the overwhelming smell of liquid latex -- or the ammonia component therein (or whatever it was) -- stung our senses.
Nonetheless despite all of the above the proprietor was kind enough to admit us into his workshop, and that is just what it was -- a workshop. There was NOTHING boutique about it in any way, shape or form. We talked for a few minutes and that unspoken tension in the air seemed to lighten up. Next thing you know the guy is inviting us into his back-back room to show us something. My partner later told me that she was just waiting to hear cries for help coming from behind a locked door, or see body parts floating in a bin somewhere. Heheheheh.......a creative imagination there. I am sorry to disappoint the macabre amongst you and tell you that there were no cries and no body parts. Instead what the gentleman did take us to was perhaps THEE BEST collection of actual Gas Masks from around the world that I -- or anyone else I have ever met -- have ever seen!!!! There were literally SIX WALLS COVERED from floor to ceiling with Gas Masks from all different countries all over the world. There must have been literally 200 different gas masks in there. If you are in ANY WAY a fan of the Fetish of GAS MASKS, then this room is your wet dream. We left the shop with a friendly handshake and a catalog of the man's designs and at that point found out that he prefers to do 100% mail-order based upon what is his apparently excellent reputation, and that people actually coming to his shop is very much not the norm. My suggestion if you ever intend to visit his shop is to call first and simply confirm that it is OK for you to come visit. :-)
The next stop was TIBERIUS, located actually quite close to a major shopping district of Vienna. The shop is clean and comfortable with a wide selection of toys and clothing for both men and women. They carry knick-knacks and postcards and sculptures as well as the occasional piece of furniture. Best of all the staff is amazingly friendly and in fact they re-opened the shop just to let us in and browse around and stuck around long after closing time to share stories with us about the local Scene. On top of this, it seems as though TIBERIUS is one of the big names in Vienna when it comes to throwing large scale Fetish/S&M parties to a wide cross-section of the pansexual Perv community, all that and a super-strict dress code too!
we were to be long since returned or else we would LOVE to have been there
for the TIBERIUS Birthday Party bash on Sept. 30th, known as the "PerVienne
2000." With an expected attendance of 700 or more, the TIBERIUS party
sounded as though it was going to be the Torture Garden of Eastern Europe!
Next time. ;-)
Last but absolutely not least our final stop in Vienna was that SMart Cafe'. Part restaurant, part coffeeshop, part bar, part social spot and with a fully functioning and immaculately equipped dungeon in the back room, the SMart Cafe' is without a doubt another absolute MUST on any fetish tour to this area. In fact, right inside the front entrance is a table where one can find the flyers for literally EVERY Fetish or S&M event going on ANYWHERE even close to Vienna!!! I would have to rate the SMart Cafe', with it's ubiquitous S&M-themed decorations and it's open-to-the-public dungeon as what should be your very FIRST stop on any Vienna Fetish Tour. The rules of the dungeon are simple: keep the door open as you play and there is no charge, or you can close the door for about 100 Shillings an hour (about $15 I think -- don't quote me on that). The coffee is good, the light food/snacks are good, the staff was enormously friendly and informative (it is a family owned business by the way), and the walls were adorned with many quality S&M photos of attractive models taken by a local photographer. In short a superb atmosphere, which is probably why a lot of the local S&M societies like to use the SMart Cafe as their meeting and coordinating spot. Start at the SMart Cafe' and the rest of your visit to Vienna will be a downhill ride from there. :-)
As a final note
to this section, in the course of my visits, I also discovered that Hamburg
and Munich have some pretty wild looking events although I did not.....yet......get
a chance to investigate these. :-)
Names to look out for:
Hamburg -- FETISH CIRCUS (party)
Munich -- TRIEB-WERK (party)
SPECIAL REPORT: FETISH TRAVEL
-- You CAN Do It And You Can Do It CHEAP!
The idea for this theme and section came from the fact that I regularly get people asking about Fetish Parties elsewhere, I love going to these parties myself and reporting on them, and in general because I personally like the idea of Pervs everywhere getting the chance to sample the best of what another country's Fetish Scene has to offer. So without further ado, here are a variety of tricks and tips to help bring that exotic Fetish Vacation within your grasp!
This is usually THEE most daunting factor to the budget traveler, so I am going to give-away a big secret that a lot of travel agents do not want you to know about. It is called THE BACK PAGE OF THE SUNDAY TRAVEL SECTION FROM YOUR LOCAL, MAJOR NEWSPAPER. More specifically they are known as "Travel Consolidators."
Travel Consolidators have a thriving business based on guesswork, estimates, and a bit of a gamble on how the next season's travel will be going. In short, the Consolidators have arrangements with airlines from all over the world to buy up large blocks of seats at a super-cheap rate that the airlines do not expect to sell. In other words, that flight to Hungary in December? Hungarian Air has already calculated that they will sell MAYBE one out of every ten seats on that flight. So they auction off the other 90% of seats to a Consolidator, get a few bucks to cover operating costs, make a tiny profit and are happy. The Consolidator then adds a low margin -- 10% or 20% on top of the low price they paid for that seat -- and sells it off to you, the consumer. There are many well-known "Student Travel Services" who basically offer low rates based on this exact process, although they still raise the prices a bit higher than the usual Consolidators. The only advantage to the Student Travel Services, who -- hint, hint -- only require that you show them a student ID Card at the time of purchase (most of the time anyhow), is that they usually have a MUCH larger selection of destinations. That "hint, hint" is simply a note to say that in most areas and cities of the 1st world you will receive a Student ID if you enroll in even a single class at a local community college. Lets see: $35 for a "How to Use Microsoft Windows" training class which results in being able to buy a ticket about $300 cheaper than the airline usually offers. You do the math.
The regular Consolidators will list the actual contracts they have by the Cities for which they have bought their blocks of seats. So you may see that "Joe's Discount Travel Service" flies to Mexico City, London, Miami and Hamburg, whereas "Super Travel Deals" flies to London, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Prague, etc, etc.
For some reason, all of these consolidators for your area (and I have seen this in one U.S. city after another) seize upon the very back page or pages of the Sunday Travel Section for the local major newspaper. Occasionally you will find their listings in some local Free Press magazines and newspapers as well.
I can say with absolute impunity that 99.999% of the time the cheapest prices you are ever going to find will be amongst these listings.
you have a lot of patience and a very open schedule and can travel with
a very small amount of luggage, then you may be interested in the whole
world of Courier Services. These are seats on airplanes otherwise
fitted for carrying parcels and packages, like Federal Express. The
problem is that you are usually allowed ZERO check-in luggage, i.e.
a large carry-on at best, and you often only get to travel on dates
THEY pick for you. All that aside, Courier Flights can be as cheap
as busfare to the next city!!!
Both these options, Consolidators and Couriers do not ever offer any
frills or frequent flier miles. On Courier flights do not expect
a movie, while on the slightly more expensive Consolidator airfares
you simply must expect no refunds or exchanges (but you get the same
movie & food everyone else on that flight does).
As a last resort, you can always log onto a website like the excellent TRAVELOCITY.COM, which basically provides honest, real-time listings for almost all major airlines and what their prices are from lowest published fare to highest. Add to this that at sites like Travelocity you often find a special button for a "Fare Watcher" or the like where you can enter in the price you would like to pay for a flight and the site will e-mail you if any airline gets even close to that price to your chosen destination.
Furthermore there are the infamous ticket-bidding sites like PRICELINE.COM (I am pretty sure they have this service which I do not personally have the patience to use) where you can bid on a ticket to a location. This does not work for me because once I know where I want to go I don't feel like screwing around with high hopes for a ticket that I may not even get. That said, I have personally met people who have gotten AMAZING deals on cool locations for vacations using this service. :-)
Now you know where to look for thee cheapest airfares anywhere, which brings me to
So you really want to fly to that one big metropolis, but airfare there is still too high even after your search through the back pages of that Travel Section. Might be time to consider the closest large airport in that relatively untraveled -- or at least LESS traveled -- location.
Example: British Airways to London from San Francisco wants $2000 round-trip (a ridiculous price to say the very least when a Consolidator offers the same fare for $400!!!!! TRUE!!!). But gee, I kind of wanted to go to Amsterdam anyhow, and what-do-you know: if I fly Brit Air to Amsterdam the price CUTS IN HALF!!! Why? Because British Airways makes 99% of their cash from their cash-cow, which are flights to London. However they do service other areas, so they throw in these flights at an often super-discounted rate. So big deal to us aye? You fly to Amsterdam and after a nice stay there pay a measly $80 for a bus ride to London!!!!!
to fly to Prague, a hot spot in Eastern Europe, but the prices are kind
of high. Hey, what do you know -- flights to Budapest are $400 cheaper,
and the train from Budapest to Prague is only $60!!!
Yes, you need TIME for these extra days of travel, but if you can afford the time you can often save major $$$.
You have your main airfare paid for, but you want to get around between a few cities when you land. Straight up these are your options in order of ONE DAY expense (i.e. Cars are usually more than one day):
In-Land Flights, aka City Hoppers -- always the most expensive. No guarantee if they will be cheaper if you buy it in the country of origin versus buying it in your home town before your journey begins. I have seen it go both ways. Best bet is if an overseas friend can do the research on the prices over there so you can compare. One more note on airfare: a Roundtrip ticket will almost always be cheaper than a one-way ticket. If you are city-hopping it will usually save you money to buy a round-trip ticket to your main destination even if you do not intend to return to the city you started from.
Car Rental -- CAN be very cheap in some places if you will settle for that Sub-Compact car. Usually requires one driver over 25, and it is a good idea to buy at least the collision insurance. Note that the main expense if you rent a very cheap car is going to be GASOLINE, which in places like Europe is sometime THREE TIMES the price we pay in the U.S. Generally renting a car is a multi-day adventure which also drives the price UP. However, things like AAA membership (a mere $46 a year) and sometimes even owning a regular credit card will get you discounts with various car rental companies. If a company offers you a "Free Upgrade" you can sometimes ask if they can "lower the price of the cheaper car [sic]" instead. Most major car rental companies, which are in FIERCE competition with all the other rental companies, are happy to wheel and deal with you at the drop of a hat. Your best deals will always happen right there at the window in the airport when you are picking up the car (on the phone they are usually much less authorized to wheel and deal), so be super-friendly for best results. Never be afraid to ask for that bargain, and often if you will take whatever car they want to give you rather than a specific choice they can also give you a deal. Also, sometimes if you plan to rent a car for the better part of a week anyhow, renting it for a full-week price will be cheaper than say only 5 days, and they never complain if you return the car early. Ask about saving money if you get a one-week rental even if you are renting for less than a week.
Trains -- outside of the U.S., trains are a superb and inexpensive way to travel. Amtrak is a joke when compared to the frequency of trains and number of actual travelers that use these trains in places like Europe. The infamous "Eurail" ticket still stands supreme as THEE cheapest deal to get on train travel in Europe. You must buy your Eurail ticket in the U.S. before you leave -- they cost significantly more once you are in Europe. They are 100% exchangeable, so you may find yourself selling the remaining slots of your Eurail ticket to someone at a youth hostel, or seeking out the local hostel to see if anyone is selling. Note that at regular speeds (in Europe for example) of 70-90 mph, and with infrequent short stops, trains are the second fastest way to travel in most cases (barring a friend who likes to drive 130 mph on the Autobahn).
Buses -- never underestimate that good old bus ride. Yes, depending on where you are you may find yourself on a bus full of people twice your age, a bus that is a non-stop party all night long, or sitting next to a man and his live chickens. Regardless, buses are generally a perfectly safe and very inexpensive way to get around. If you are lucky they will have air-conditioning and sometimes even videos playing, all things you can ask about before you buy your ticket. Note that seats on a bus will be less roomy or comfortable as a rule of thumb than trains, and the travel time on a bus is the longest, but no matter how you slice it buses will be the cheapest way to travel inter-city 99% of the time. My only real complaint about buses is that I am a non-smoker and some European buslines do not have non-smoking buses. Be sure to ask if this is a concern.
You have made it to your desired city. Now how do you save $$$
and still get a decent place to stay?
Network -- talk extensively to other travelers, especially back-pack travelers. They will often be able to tell you about a "Pension" or Budget Hotel or Hostel where you can stay for as little as $10 a night. Of course in a Hostel you are talking dormitory style, which may not be your cup of tea. Guess what? Many hostels have rooms for rent with a mere two beds in the room. It will be more than the dorm room and you may still have to share a bathroom, but it will still be far cheaper than a regular hotel.
Internet -- there are now some GREAT sites on the internet. Enter
the search words "hotel pension cheap budget bargain listing" and the
city you are looking in. Most major tourist destination cities
now have a tourist bureau site which will list a HUGE number of hotels
rated by number of stars and the price. Using my buddy's computer
in Germany I personally found a 4-star room in Vienna which was as cheap
as a 2-star hotel. Location of the Hotel or Hostel will also make
a HUGE difference -- closer to the chief tourist spots will make the
price go up, so if you can walk/bus/train/tram/drive into these tourist
destinations from a little further out then you will save money on the
Note: in some cities like London, be very careful about their "Star Rating" system. In the U.S. the star ratings are pretty clearly defined and the quality change is rather linear. In London however, their "3-stars" are like our two-stars....or worse!!! A good rule of thumb especially when using the internet to find accommodation is that you don't want to stay in some place that does not have at least one photo of the room, and in that photo you should get a solid sense of what you are getting. In the U.S. a Motel-6 gets two stars, three in a few areas. In Europe, any room even close to a Motel-6 would be a three-and-a-half star room! If you need to save bucks, then go for the European 2-star, which generally amounts to having to share a bathroom and a tiny room with a bed a bit of space for your luggage. In some cases these two-stars will have a communal kitchen which is a great place to meet people and get more info on travel bargains. :-)
Many places will advertise "breakfast included" -- this can mean anything from a stale bread roll, coffee and jam to a full-on buffet breakfast. Inquire about EXACTLY what they mean by "breakfast included" and then figure if you will even be taking advantage of this. A full meal included in the morning may save you bucks in the long run vs. going out to eat the same amount of food; a stale bread roll and horrible coffee on the other hand can be a rip-off excuse to charge you extra $$ vs. the cheaper hotel next door that does not include this so-called "breakfast."
As soon as you arrive at your destination, or before, you should familiarize with the various forms of public transportation to be found there. As a general rule, if the city has an Underground or "Tube" system it will be the cheapest way to get around along with surface buses. Tubes are usually more comfortable and spacious than buses (barring rush-hour), and MUCH faster than buses. Ask about every kind of discount you can think of when you go to get your Tube-pass: student discounts, age discounts, 24 hour discounts, 3-day discounts, one week tickets, Tube & Bus tickets, etc, etc, etc. Most employees of public transport are not the cheeriest or most talkative people and you may need to ask about each discount before they decide to hand you a pamphlet or tell you about that perfect discount that you have been looking for. I have yet to visit a city's Tube system that did not have some kind of discount that was perfect for my needs.
Taxis will ALWAYS be more expensive than Tubes and Buses, but lets face it: they are always there in a pinch (in most cities). Ask the locals if there is one cab company that is the most honest and reliable. In London for example the famous "Black Cab" is highly regulated and watched and therefore extremely trustworthy. The competing "Mini-cab" companies used to be much cheaper and proportionately unreliable, but time has made them start to measure up to the standards of the Black Cabs (and unfortunately made them charge about the same as well). If you phone up for a cab it is always a good idea to state your exact destination and ask for an exact price up front for the journey. Cabs on the street may occasionally haggle, but if they are in line at a taxi-stand then you usually have to take the next one in line. I suppose the main benefit of a quality cab service like London's Black Cabs is that you often get a free "tour-guide" in your driver if he/she is a talkative one. :-)
Plain and simple. Trust me when I tell you that there are oodles of great food out there at extremely reasonable prices. Ask the locals for exactly what you are seeking and cross-reference the recommendations. Food outside of the main tourist zone will almost always be cheaper. Pizza is ubiquitous. Chinese food is always cheap. The local cuisine will be less expensive than most fancy "ethnic" food. Health Food and Vegetarian restaurants are often surprisingly good deals, unless they go the other way and try to convince you that their rice is "gourmet rice" and that's why it costs $10 a bowl. Spare me.
One great, international secret and trick: Hari Krishnas. It will be vegetarian to be sure, but it will usually taste good and be VERY inexpensive. Often the local Hari-Krishna restaurant offers "All you can eat." You can bet that they will usually throw some propaganda your way, but not always -- sometimes they are just genuine, bonified restaurants run by the HK -- and even when they do sling the propaganda your way they do not bash you over the head with it. They may ask you once if you would like to come to their temple and they always seem to take a polite "No" for an answer and don't ask you again. HK restaurants can be found literally all over the world.
Lastly, find out where the back-packing tourists are eating. Sometimes you will find that upstairs from the music shop there is a restaurant that serves huge amounts of food to all the back packers that come through town for an incredibly cheap price. In one city this was literally the case, and if I had not been staying at the local budget hotel where other backpackers stayed I never would have found the place. I ate there every night, where they charged a flat $5 for a single pass through the buffet of great food; the only limitation was that you had to be able to carry the generally enormous pile of food on your plate to your table without spilling, and it was something of a major faux pas to leave food on your plate. :-)
A BIGGIE when it comes to saving money. Every location has TWO
seasons to consider: The actual climate season, and the Travel Season.
As a rule of thumb, the better the climate at that time of year,
the more expensive prices will be. A physically HOT location may
be incredibly cheap during summer months when it is too hot for most
people and more expensive during Autumn and Spring when perfect temperatures
abound. Crossing the equator can be a trick in itself as sometime
our lowest season of travel in terms of vacation time is actually the
best time to be in that foreign country.For example a great party may
be going down in Argentina or Australia with perfect temperatures, but
because it is Winter after the New Year up here (The LOW season of travel
in the U.S.) prices can be LOW.
As a rule, avoid traveling on major holidays because prices will be the most expensive then too. Fortunately for "our kind," parties and events are scattered throughout the year, so avoiding the big holidays like x-mas and the summer rush are actually pretty easy.
Major trick: know the "transitional month" if there is one. A lot of countries, especially 1st world such as Western Europe, have a third "gray-zone" season which is not quite High Season for travel and not quite Low Season for travel. This third "season" lasts about a month and is usually accompanied by good temperatures becoming less good by the end of that month, or the calm season becoming the stormy season or rainy season by the end of that month. There are MAJOR deals to be found in accommodation and transportation during these gray-zone seasons. Most "Tourist Seasons" end or begin when weather is good on a regular basis (not including traditional holidays). Before and after these times there is usually a prime month when prices drop because tourist season is officially over, but the weather does not really change drastically for a full month. The classic example is September in Northern Europe. Days can often be delightfully warm and sunny in the beginning of the month, and this weather only gets slightly more chilly as the end of September approaches. But because the Tourist Season ends Sept. 1st prices are often cut in half for a wide variety of things such as hotel prices. You may not get the warm spring or summer days in the mountains of Switzerland, but with a decent coat you will take just as many photos of beautiful days and be out of there before the weather gets genuinely inhospitable.
All that said, there is still no savings like just plain traveling during
the LOW Season. Just be sure to know absolutely WHY that is a country's
Low Season so you don't find yourself with an unexpected case of frostbite
or second-degree sun burns. ;-)
That said there are plenty of places where Low Season is still a great time to travel, especially if your goal is an indoor adventure such as Fetish Party hopping. :-)
Simply said, take advantage of buying your tickets for events when the prices are low once you know you are going. If you are traveling with a group of people, it never hurts to ask if you can get a group discount if you buy a bunch of tickets at once, especially for major, expensive events. Truth is, with almost ANY aspect of travel, you can ask to be connected with whoever is in charge of "Groups" and ask about a discount for you and your travel buddies. Most places that offer a group discount want at least 20 people as a rule of thumb, which brings us to our final point.....
They exist. They may not be frequent, but keep your eyes open for them. Companies like Fetish Tours International out of San Francisco (the people who helped promote the upcoming KINK IN THE CARIBBEAN on the West Coast) occasionally offer a package deal to a remote destination where there is some manner of Fetish Fun to be found. Even if you do not use a company like FTI, any company offering a great package deal can save you literally hundreds of dollars, and sometimes even more than that! Basically what the Package Deal company does is assemble the number of people to get a Group Discount as well as works with airlines and hotels to get further discounts. Sometimes the Package Deal company will simply be helping to promote a particular airline, and some airlines such as Virgin have their very own Package Deal department!! If you ever decide to use a regular travel agent to go to one of your chosen destinations, the first thing any budget traveler should ask for is Package Deals -- they will save you $$$! The bottom line is that often the Package Deal will save you not only money but also lots of TIME in terms of searching for hotel, airfare, etc.
If you would like to be notified of the occasional package deal from Fetish Tours International, you can sign-up on their 100% confidential and spam-free list by sending an e-mail to: FTI@clubiniquity.com Please note that FTI most certainly IS affiliated with INIQUITY so although the intentions are sincere this can fairly be construed as a plug. ;-)
That said, you have just been given the 9 best secrets of Cheap Travel that there are (package deal or applying these tricks and tips yourself), so there is simply no excuse for not GETTING OUT THERE and HAVING FUN!!!!! :-)
Click here to go to Part II of Iniquity Newsletter #21
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